Philippines Ranks First in Business English Index (Proficiency) YAY!

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

From a GlobalEnglish Press release:

The Philippines was named the world’s best country in business English proficiency, even beating the United States, according to a recent study by GlobalEnglish Corporation.

GlobalEnglish has released early this month the results of its annual Business English Index (BEI), the only index that measures business English proficiency in the workplace.

For 2012, results showed that from 76 represented countries worldwide, only the Philippines attained a score above 7.0, “a BEI level within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks.”

“This is particularly interesting because the Philippines, a country with one-tenth of the population of India, recently overtook India as a hub for call centers. Over 400,000 Filipinos are now employed in call centers, roughly 50,000 more than in India,” the study said.

The Philippines, which scored 7.11 and the lone country in the intermediate level, were joined by Norway (6.54), Estonia (6.45), Serbia (6.38) and Slovenia (6.19) in the top five.

GlobalEnglish noted that a country’s business English capability is an indicator of its economic growth and business success.

“It is not surprising that both the Philippines and Norway—the only two countries in the top five in both 2011 and 2012—are improving their economies, based on the latest GDP data from the World Bank,” it added.

Meanwhile, struggling economic powers (Japan, Italy and Mexico) and fast-growth emerging markets (Brazil, Columbia and Chile) scored below a 4.0 in business English proficiency, placing them at a disadvantage when competing in a global marketplace, the study said.

It also pointed out that shifts in global talent have put even English-speaking countries at risk.

“Surprisingly the BEI score for global workers in the U.S. declined from 6.9 to 5.09 since the original 2011 BEI benchmark, which is attributed to a majority of test takers being foreign-born engineers and scientists,” the report said.

Rest of the world ranked beginner and basic level

Based on a scale of 1-10, the average 2012 BEI score across 108,000 test takers around the world is 4.15 which is lower than last year’s 4.46.

Nearly four out of 10 (38.2 percent) global workers from 76 countries were ranked as business English beginners, meaning that, on average, they can’t understand or communicate basic information during virtual or in-person meetings, read or write professional emails in English or deal with complexity and rapid change in a global business environment, the study said.

Meanwhile, the majority of global workers (60.5 percent) from the represented countries scored between a 4.0 and 7.0, below an intermediate level, indicating an inability to take an active role in business discussions or perform relatively complex tasks such as presentation development and customer or partner negotiations, it added.

GlobalEnglish stressed that the 2012 BEI which showed a lack of business English proficiency is threatening the productivity of companies, industries and country-specific economies this year.

“Poor Business English skills are bad for global businesses and this year’s Business English Index suggests that many companies will be hard-pressed to achieve their desired performance goals during 2012,” said Tom Kahl, GlobalEnglish President.

“Addressing English skills gaps and ensuring that employees can immediately perform at the necessary proficiency level should be viewed as a strategic imperative for multinational businesses, as Enterprise Fluency, the ability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate within global organizations, can deliver significant financial upside,” Kahl added.

Headquartered in Brisbane, California, GlobalEnglish works with multinational companies – including Cisco, Procter and Gamble, HSBC, Phzer – to support performance in business English across the workforce around the world.

Here’s the list of the 10 best and worst countries in the world for business English proficiency based on GlobalEnglish’s 2012 BEI:

10 Best Countries:
Philippines
Norway
Serbia
Slovenia
Australia
Malaysia
India
Lithuania
Singapore
Canada

10 Worst Countries:
Armenia
Cote d’Ivoire
Taiwan
Honduras
Columbia
Chile
El Salvador
Saudi Arabia

 

Best Rain Delay EVER!

May 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Nothing like a friendly competition amongst colleges on the field, even IF the baseball game was cancelled!

CSUB vs. Nebraska and the best rain delay EVER!

War & MP3s: Rare Earth Elements

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Today’s post comes from Imogen Reed, freelance writer and wannabe rockstar.

China is at risk of sparking a trade war over unsanctioned restrictions of exports of a number of rare metals. These materials, commonly known as rare earth elements, are used in the manufacture of myriad different products including iPods, iPhones, plasma TVs, night vision goggles, Blackberries and hybrid car batteries. In addition, they are also required for the production of military equipment such as laser-guided smart bombs and heat shielding.

Back Story

The first indication of China starting to hold back on its obligations was in September 2010 when the uneasy sense of antagonism existing between China and Japan was flared up once again by a boat collision around the disputed territories of the Senkaku Islands and the subsequent detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain by the Japanese coast guard.

China’s ban on the export of rare earth metals to Japan may or may not have been a direct reaction to this incident, but the timing was too coincidental to not look suspicious. Of course, China denied that such a restriction had been implemented, but then the Chinese government does expect its citizens to accept official statements as indisputable facts and presumes the rest of the world will follow that same logic.

Mining Monopoly

It’s now apparent that China’s export quotas and the duties that must be paid on them are designed to give an advantage to its domestic industry over international competition, which is a violation of international trade rules. Countries in the West are forced to pay excessive amounts for a supply of the minerals that barely meets demand.

Although deposits of the metals also exist elsewhere in the world, the deposits are often tainted by radioactive metals formed under similar conditions. China, never being a nation to let danger to human life stand in the way of industrial progress, began large scale mining in earth mineral-rich areas in the early 2000s, thus cornering the market on their refinement.

The Obama administration has now lodged a joint formal complaint with the World Trade Organization along with Japan and the European Union.  The responding statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce declared it has “no intention of protecting domestic industries by distorting its foreign trade.” But of course, nobody was really holding out for an admission of guilt.

Periodical Importance

The more technical name for rare earth elements are lanthanide metals. This series of elements are one of the two rows on the periodic table that break out of the transitional metal block. They’re the ones you always ignored in chemistry class because they were never mentioned and didn’t seem to fit in with anything. The two elements above in the block, scandium and yttrium, are also classed as rare earth metals due to the close similarities in properties.

Compounds of the elements are phosphorescent, meaning they give off colored luminescence, making them perfect for compiling the pictures in TV screens. Their magnetic properties, combined with relatively light weight, also make them ideal for computer disc drives and electronic devices like iPods and mobile phones.

Fallout

If the restrictions of rare earth metal exports remain unchecked. It will doubtlessly have knock-on effects for the cost of any shipments that make it through. Certainly, nobody is going to cry a river for Apple executives forced to shell out over the odds for the raw materials required for their designer products, as they have enough money for all the big houses, expensive cars and Mediterranean cruise deals their steam-pressed hearts desire. However, it’s more than likely that the increased expenditure will be passed on to the people wanting to adorn their lives with sleek shininess, meaning the retail prices of the goods could skyrocket without warning, possibly pricing the items out of the reach of ordinary consumers.

A further issue is that due to the use of the metals in military hardware, they can be classified as a strategic resource, like oil was in the 1910s and ‘20s, and uranium in the ‘40s and ‘50s. In doing so, the government can invoke the Defense Production Act, meaning that all imported quotas of rare earth metals can be prioritized for the requirements of national defense. Subsequently, any leftovers will end up scarce and pricey, so it follows that any items made using them will end up even more prohibitively expensive.

If for some reason you don’t already own an iPod, you might want to look into getting one fairly quick. Who knows how much longer you’ll be able to afford it?

Interested in more? Here’s an article from treehugger.com on the subject.

New ISP

March 22, 2012 2 comments

So, being sick and tired of all the downtime I was experiencing with AT&T’s Uverse, I decide to switch to Time Warner. I opted for the faster download speed well, just because I could. Naturally, the first step is to check out the speed. In case you’re interested in YOUR downstream speed, check out www.speedtest.net. I did and here’s my result.

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy.

Categories: Other, Tech Tags: , , , ,

International Slutty Womens Day: A Story in GIFs

March 12, 2012 Leave a comment

A response to the “slut” comment by that big fat idiot, Rush Limbaugh.  Rush – go fuck yourself, you fat, reprehensible, misogynistic druggie.

On s side note, apparently, a Dot com offered to buy all the ad space dumped by the advertisers who pulled out of supporting Rush. The Dot com who stepped up? ashleymadison.com, a website devoted to promoting extramarital affairs.

ashleymadison.com’s CEO  Noel Biderman said Limbaugh’s audience—despite its conservative leanings—is a natural fit for the site. “We are in the business of selling affairs, and our audience is absolutely his audience,” he said.

Family values indeed.

International Slutty Womens Day: A Story in GIFs.

Rumor roundup: ‘iPad 3’ release date, specs – The Washington Post

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

iOS 5 jailbreak a bit buggy

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment
dreamboard with Android theme

Looks nice but...

Having a lot of issues after my jailbreak  weeks ago, more on the iPad than the iPhone. Lots of crashing out of apps indicate some instability with the system.

I also notice that Dreamboard, while it looks neat, the concept of a theme within a theme (Dreamboard->Honeypad->theme in Honeypad) doesn’t work so well. Perhaps in the iPad 2 or the iPad 3 (supposed to feature an A7 quad core processor?) with the horsepower, it will be able to handle the system requirements, but right now, iPad 1 just can’t handle it.